An infectious disease expert and member of the Vaccine Expert Panel on Saturday expressed his support for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for healthcare workers following the waning immunity of some vaccines, especially Sinovac, after six to eight months.
“Nakikita din naman natin ito sa ground. May mga mangilan-ngilan na health workers na nagkakasakit. Kadalasan naman mild lang, pero ‘pag nawawala sila roon sa areas nila, 14 days, malaking kawalan din ‘yan sa serbisyo natin sa pagsugpo ng COVID-19,” Dr. Rontgene Solante said at the Laging Handa briefing.
(We also see it on the ground. Some health workers get sick with usually only mild symptoms, but if they leave their areas for 14 days, that is also a big loss in the service to fight COVID-19.)
He said the Vaccine Expert Panel already submitted their recommendation to the All Experts Groups of the Department of Health (DOH).
Solante cited studies that the immunity of some vaccines were waning, especially on the elderly or those immunocompromised.
He added that the Vaccine Expert Panel was considering recommending those inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine to be prioritized for booster shots.
Solante said he begged to differ from World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom who said that booster doses should not be given until further evidence.
“Paano ba natin kukunin ang ebidensya? ‘Pag nagkakasakit na lahat ng health care workers or mayroon nang mamamatay na health care workers? Iyan ang isa sa mga factor na tinitingnan ng VEP,” he said.
(How will we get the evidence? Is it when all health care workers get sick or some of them die? This is one of the factors that VEP looks at.)
“Hindi natin kailangan ng ebidensya na mamamatay ang mga health care workers o magkakasakit ang mga health care workers bago natin sila babakunahan,” Solante added.
(We do not have to wait for evidence that health care workers are dying or that they are getting sick before we can vaccinate them).